Writing Procedures for your Small Business

Design Team Member Good Practices by Laura Bray

Do you use procedures in your business? If you aren't you are missing out on a valuable business tool that can be make your daily workday much easier. While it takes time to write out all the steps to do certain business tasks, I can guarantee it will save you tons of time later. You will also make fewer mistakes and look very professional. While writing a procedure manual can sound daunting, it really isn't. The number one reason most people avoid it is because they think there is "right way" to do it. And, honestly, for most home based/small businesses, there isn't. You just need to get all steps down so that you can go into auto-pilot whenever a task comes up.

Your procedures can be:

  • Simple, handwritten lists
  • Lists typed up in Word or some other word processing software
  • An infographic (I made the one above in Piktochart).
  • A hand drawn infographic.

Once you have all your steps written down, use the procedures a couple of times and adjust it as necessary. I know I always leave a step or two out the first time I write out procedures. Once you are happy with them, keep them in a binder so you or an assistant can reference them. (I forgot to tell you that having procedures means it's much easier to delegate work!) You can also print out the procedures and check them off as you go along or laminate them and use an erasable marker to check off the tasks.

Here are some processes you might want to consider writing procedures for:

  • Projects: For example, I do design team projects every month, for numerous companies, so I created the infographic to keep myself on track and to make sure that I don't let any details slip by!
  • Accounting tasks
  • Blogging tasks
  • Newsletter publishing tasks
  • Social media and marketing tasks

Anything that you do on a regular basis is a great task to write procedures for. Don't forget to write procedures for those tasks that you only do once or twice a year too. My sales tax report is only done on a yearly basis and, before I had written procedures for it, I would spend about 30-60 minutes trying to remember where to go in my accounting softward and how to fill-out the forms. Then one year I wrote procedures as I completed the task and now I don't have to relearn everything every year. So take a little extra time and write those procedures. I promise they will save you time and tears later.

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